Parlez-vous Fashion? How To Pronounce Givenchy, Hermes, and More

Some languages you have to learn by sticking your head in a textbook for hours. Others you can learn by sticking your head in a Vogue for a couple hours. I think the latter sounds a lot more fun... The language I'm talking about is of course the language of fashion. True fashionista status comes with not only proper appreciation but pronunciation of the oh-so-fabulous designers and houses which produce the clothing and jewelry we adore. Here are some commonly mispronounced names and the proper ways to say them so you can boost your fashionista status.

BCBG Max Azria

The BCBG Max Azria brand was created 20 years ago by Tunisian-born designer Max Azria. The line is known for their contemporary women’s sportswear and eveningwear. According to writer Patricia Gajo, Azria says that “BCBG is a Gallic acronym for bon chic, bon genre, which means ‘good style, good attitude’, a common term in France that Parisians use synonymously with preppy or Euro riche.” To properly pronounce the word, just say the letters as they are: B C B G. Then Max (nothing special, just the name). Then the part that most people mispronounce: Azria. “Az” like the word “as”, and “ria” like the name “Mia”. Ree-uh. I cry a little on the inside when I see people write or say “BCBG Max Azaria”, as if he were somehow related to actor Hank Azaria. No, dears, he is not. So BCBG Max Azria it is.

BVLGARI is an Italian fine jewelry house first opened in 1884 in Rome. Today, though, it also has leather goods, watches, perfumes, silks (ties and scarves) and more to its name. The name BVLGARI is written in Latin, so the letter that looks like a “V” is actually a “U”. So it’s pronounced Bulgari—BULL(like the animal)-GAHR(as in ‘garden’)-EE(like the letter “e”). In fact, if you type “bvlgari” into Google, it will lead you to the BVLGARI website, which is actually


This is a VERY important one! Some people might think it’s a no-brainer, but if I hear another person pronounce it “Channel” I will actually lose my mind. The House of Chanel was started in early 20th century France by the one and only Mademoiselle Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel. Chanel has fine women’s sportswear and eveningwear and is run today by Karl Lagerfeld (pronounced “Carl Loggerfelld”). Chanel is properly pronounced “Sha-nelle”, “Sha” like in “shove” and “nelle” like in the name “Nell”. Chanel.

It’s true, these French names can be difficult, but this is another important one. Hubert de Givenchy opened the House of Givenchy in 1952, alongside greats like Christian Dior and Balenciaga. He was also the chief designer for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Audrey Hepburn. Though Givenchy himself retired in 1995, the Givenchy Femme line is perpetuated by Italian designer Riccardo Tisci. Givenchy is pronounced with a French “J” sound, a soft “jz” made with the tip of the tongue, almost like saying “shh”. So it’s “jzhiv-on-shee”, since the French “e” makes a long “o” sound, and the “ch” is a “sh” sound. Givenchy.